The Congress government has set an ambitious target of bringing 9.25 lakh hectares of land under irrigation in the next five years at a cost of Rs. 45,574.10 crore.
Announcing this at a press conference here on Saturday after a review of the progress of implementation of irrigation schemes, Minister for Major and Minor Irrigation M.B. Patil said an action plan would be prepared for the time-bound completion of the ongoing projects to achieve the target.
The action plan would cover projects, including Upper Krishna Project Stage III, Upper Bhadra Project and the Yettinahole Project.
Official sources said the UKP Stage-III would irrigate 14.5 lakh acres of land. This project would require acquisition of about 1.55 lakh acres of land spread across 22 villages, resulting in displacement of 1.4 lakh people.
The Minister said he would make a proposal to the government to allow the Water Resources Department to directly take up the land acquisition process for the UKP Stage-III through consensual arrangement with landowners as was being done by the National Highways Authority of India instead of going through the Revenue Department.
Plans were also afoot to clear bottlenecks related to rehabilitation and resettlement to speed up the implementation of irrigation projects, Mr. Patil added.
Declaring that his department was committed to defending the State’s rights on the Cauvery waters through effective arguments before the Supreme Court and other authorities, he said measures would also be initiated to increase the irrigation potential in the Cauvery basin through extensive use of micro-irrigation systems and sprinklers. He expressed confidence that such measures, if effectively implemented, were bound to increase the irrigation potential by five to seven lakh acres.
Mr. Patil said he would encourage State farmers to adopt the water conservation technologies as had been done in Israel.
Security to reservoirs
He said his Department would take steps to provide security to reservoirs as per reports given by experts by utilising the World Bank aid. Two battalions of the Central Industrial Security Force would be used for this purpose, the Minister added.